Force Fall in Game 3, Youngstown Claims First Ever Clark Cup

Fargo Force Clark Cup Logo (Courtesy of Fargo Force)
Fargo Force Clark Cup Logo (Courtesy of Fargo Force)

The Force traveled to Youngstown for Game 3 of the Clark Cup Finals against the Phantoms trying to extend the series and battle for their playoff lives. The Covelli Center was sold out in anticipation of the first ever Clark Cup Championship in Youngstown’s history.

The first period, like so many in this series, was a scoreless affair with both teams getting minimal shots on net. The game was physical and a bit chippy as both teams were whistled for a total of 11 penalties in the opening period. Youngstown went on the first powerplay of the game when Bret Link was called for High Sticking at 3:41 of the period. Offsetting penalties to each team for Roughing and Double Minor Roughing calls led to neither team gaining an advantage.  Those four penalties were minimal compared to the 10-minute misconducts by Cole Knuble of Fargo and Chase Pietila of Youngstown. Yet still with all of the extracurricular activities it did not sway the momentum to either side of the ice and the opening period ended scoreless.

The second period picked up where the first period left off, with tough aggressive play by both teams, leading to another call of offsetting minors as JP Turner of Fargo and Youngstown’s William Whiteclaw both whistled for roughing just 44 seconds into the middle period. The extra ice once again didn’t give either team an advantage and both teams once again headed to the locker rooms tied 0-0.

The third period was the chance for one of the two teams to gain all of the momentum in the late stages of the contest. Unfortunately for Fargo it was Youngstown that would strike first. The Phantom’s Andon Cerbone would intercept a pass in the Force zone and put his shot past Matej Marinov for the game's first and only goal. The Youngstown crowd erupted in celebration and the Force knew they had gained all they would need for Jacob Fowler to close the door on any Fargo comeback hopes in this series.Marinov would come off the ice for an extra attacker twice in the last 3 minutes of the game but all throughout the series Fargo could not solve the riddle that was the USHL’s goaltender of the year. Fargo scored just two goals against Fowler in just over nine periods in three games, a complete reversal for the second highest scoring team in the USHL.

Jacob Fowler was named the Clark Cup’s Most Outstanding Player. Fowler went 3-0 in the championship series, posting an incredible 0.64 Goal Against Average and .976 Save Percentage against the Force. Fowler is committed to playing for Boston College when his time in the USHL is over, and he is listed as the 5th best North American goalie prospect heading into the 2023 NHL Draft.

The Force thanked their fans for an incredible season filled with many firsts such as the team’s first ever Anderson Cup for the USHL’s best regular season record and a number of individual records.

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